Category Archives: Missiles & Guided Weapons

Precision Strike Missiles

The U.S. Army has awarded Lockheed Martin a $158 million contract to produce additional Early Operational Capability (EOC) Precision Strike Missiles (PrSM). This is the second production contract received to date and follows a successful Manufacturing Readiness Assessment milestone visit with the Army – a critical step in the development program advancing PrSM closer to fielding.

Precision Strike Missiles (PrSM)
Lockheed Martin to deliver PrSM to the US Army for Early Fielding

The U.S. Army awarded the first EOC production and Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) contracts in September 2021.

Lockheed Martin is currently building PrSMs to fulfill the Army’s initial production contract and additional rounds that will be used in upcoming system qualification tests. EMD will result in a fully qualified system and is the last phase of the development program before a full-rate production decision will be made in 2025.

The next set of flight tests will begin in 2023. These tests follow a record-setting flight surpassing 499 km/310 miles last year at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

PrSM is the Army’s next-generation tactical missile supporting the number one modernization priority for Long-Range Precision Fires (LRPF).

For more than 40 years, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control has been the leading designer and manufacturer of long-range, surface-to-surface precision strike solutions, providing highly reliable, combat-proven systems such as the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), HIMARS, Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and Guided MLRS (GMLRS) to domestic and international customers.

Hypersonic Missile

Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, in partnership with Northrop Grumman, has been selected to develop the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (HACM) for the U.S. Air Force (USAF). HACM is a first-of-its-kind weapon developed in conjunction with the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE), a U.S. and Australia project arrangement.

Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (HACM)
U.S. Air Force selects Raytheon Missiles & Defense, Northrop Grumman to deliver first hypersonic air-breathing missile

Under this contract, the Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Northrop Grumman team will deliver operationally ready missiles to the USAF.

«Raytheon Missiles & Defense continues to be at the forefront of hypersonic weapon and air-breathing technology development», said Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon Missiles & Defense. «With advanced threats emerging around the globe, the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile will provide our warfighters a much-needed capability».

The Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile is an air-breathing, scramjet powered munition. Scramjet engines use high vehicle speed to forcibly compress incoming air before combustion, which enables sustained flight at hypersonic speeds – Mach 5 or greater. By traveling at these speeds, hypersonic weapons, like HACM, are able to reach their targets more quickly than similar traditional missiles, allowing them to potentially evade defensive systems.

«The Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile creates a new class of strategically important weapons for the U.S. military», said Mary Petryszyn, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Defense Systems. «Our scramjet propulsion technology is ushering in a new era for faster, more survivable and highly capable weapons».

Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman have been working together since 2019 to develop, produce and integrate Northrop Grumman’s scramjet engines onto Raytheon’s air-breathing hypersonic weapons. Their combined efforts enable both companies to produce air-breathing hypersonic weapons, the next generation of tactical missile systems.

Glide Phase Interceptor

Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, successfully completed the Systems Requirements Review – Prototype (SRR-P) for the Glide Phase Interceptor (GPI). GPI is designed to intercept hypersonic weapons in the glide phase of flight, providing the U.S. and allies with a regional layer of defense against hypersonic missile threats.

Glide Phase Interceptor (GPI)
Raytheon Missiles & Defense reaches key milestone in Glide Phase Interceptor development

«The Raytheon Missiles & Defense GPI concept employs a low-risk solution that uses proven Standard Missile technology already deployed on Aegis ships, while advancing critical technologies needed in the hypersonic environment», said Tay Fitzgerald, president of Strategic Missile Defense at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. «We have a firm understanding of the requirements, and we’re ready to continue GPI development. This is a major step toward delivering this capability to the warfighter».

The SRR-P determination showcases RMD’s experience with ship launched missiles systems and their ability to mature critical hypersonic technologies that ultimately help meet fleet operational requirements against existing and future threats.

With SRR-P complete, Raytheon Missiles & Defense moves on to preliminary design.

Land Precision

MBDA’s new surface-to-surface fires capabilities for the British Army are being showcased for the first time at Defence Vehicles Dynamics (DVD) 2022.

Brimstone on Boxer
Brimstone on Boxer

MBDA’s ‘Land Precision Fires Family’ comprising Surface-Launched Brimstone and Land Precision Strike (LPS) are weapons that provide precision at layered ranges, operating 24/7 with low collateral effects across a wide range of operational scenarios, from peer conflict to a limited sub threshold operation. They will help commanders to win the deep fight and shape the close fight.

Mike Mew, UK Director Sales and Business Development: «The needs of the Army are clear and MBDA’s Future Portfolio, which contains the Land Precision Fires Family, can contribute to enabling CGS’s OP MOBILISE, accelerate Future Soldier, and meet key Land Industrial Strategy objectives. Working with the new Deep Recce Strike Brigade Combat Team is just one example of where MBDA is partnering with the Army to simplify and deliver precision-at-range complex weapons that are packed with the latest technology».

Brimstone’s ‘one missile, multi-platform’ versatility is being showcased at DVD2022, including:

 

Brimstone on Boxer

The Brimstone on Boxer concept being showcased at DVD has been created by both RBSL and MBDA in response to British Army’s need for a Mounted Close Combat Overwatch (MCCO) capability, as part of its future anti-armour needs known as Battle Group Organic Anti-Armour (BGOAA). Engaging quickly to deliver precision anti-armour effects at long ranges, the Brimstone on Boxer mission module provides the capability for Heavy Combat Teams to repel adversary formations and single targets. Rapidly providing an initial capability with current equipment and then spirally developing with broader battlefield integration is at the heart of this concept.

 

Brimstone on High Mobility Transporter HMT600 series

The Brimstone on HMT600concept has been created by both Supacat and MBDA to provide the Light Forces tactical commander with a similar and complementary organic Overwatch capability to rapidly deliver precision anti-armour effects at long ranges and in volume. Potentially integrating with in-service equipment such as the Forsberg Fused Target Locator (FTL) and MANTIS Battlefield Management System and also spirally developing over time.

Brimstone on Supacat HMT
Brimstone on Supacat HMT

 

Land Precision Strike

Land Precision Strike (LPS) responds to the emerging artillery need to defeat high-value targets in the deep battle; targets which may be relocatable and fleeting in nature. So, achieving a disproportional operational effect on the adversary.

MBDA is working closely with MOD stakeholders on LPS weapon system concepts that will offer land commanders a step change in capability against armour at range – achieving highly discriminate, highly precise and low collateral effects for both peer and sub-peer conflicts. The plan is to be able to fire the LPS missile from a range of launchers including M270 MLRS, satisfying MOD’s «one platform, many weapons» objective.

Mała NAREW

PGZ and its subsidiaries, PIT-RADWAR, JELCZ and WZU, working hand-in-hand with MBDA have been making rapid progress on the SHOrt-Range Air Defence (SHORAD) solution, known as «Mała NAREW», with the first two Polish iLaunchers of the system already in Poland undergoing integration and trials ahead of delivery to the customer.

Mała NAREW
PGZ and MBDA making rapid progress on «Mała NAREW»

This project aims to deliver rapidly two SHORAD-class fire units equipped with Common Anti-Air Modular Missile (CAMM) missiles, integrated with SOŁA radar stations and the Polish Command and Control (C2) system.

The «Mała NAREW» units are being adapted to work within one SHORAD class solution. Functional integration of the radar stations, C2 systems and CAMM missile fire control software is going hand-in-hand with the physical integration of subsequent iLauncher with JELCZ trucks chassis. The first training sessions for operators of iLauncher and Polish components of the «Mała NAREW» system has already been conducted.

Sebastian Chwałek, CEO of PGZ S.A. said: «By implementing this program, we strengthen our credibility as a strategic partner for the army, ready to provide advanced air defence systems at record pace. We treat «Mała NAREW» as a test ground before the NAREW program, showing what our capabilities are and how to cooperate with major foreign partner MBDA UK on a joint project. We believe that this relationship will translate into further successes, both for our companies and the armies that will trust us to bring their air defence into XXI century».

Chris Allam, Managing Director of MBDA UK, said: «We’re proud that the co-operation between MBDA and PGZ achieved the arrival of the first air defence hardware into Poland in an incredibly short timeframe. The successes of the «Mała Narew» project are a very positive indicator for the success of PGZ-MBDA co-operation on the wider NAREW project that will include extensive transfer of technology and knowledge to Poland on missiles and launchers».

The «Mała NAREW» program, in addition to the fire units themselves, also includes a training and logistics package. Under the project, PGZ and MBDA are conducting integration of selected British and Polish elements of air defence systems as well as provide technical support for the ordered equipment at the operational stage. The contract provides for the delivery of the first «Mała NAREW» fire unit this year, and the second in 2023.

Short-Range Air Defence

Saab has conducted the first Mobile Short-Range Air Defence (MSHORAD) live system firing for an audience of various national delegations. In a series of firings, the system identified, tracked and engaged several targets.

Mobile Short-Range Air Defence (MSHORAD)
Saab’s MSHORAD System Successfully Demonstrated with Live Firing

The firings took place during August 30 in Karlskoga, Sweden. Potential customers from 15 nations attended the live firing. A total of five successful firings were performed from the RBS 70 NG Mobile Firing Unit on the MARS-S330 vehicle against a variety of targets, including a drone and an elevated helicopter airframe. During one firing scenario the vehicle mounted sight was taken off and reconfigured as a man portable firing unit. A night firing was also conducted against a towed target.

«These successful firings proves that we have a fully operable mobile air defence solution. These firings highlights the value of a single supplier being able to deliver everything from radar to the firing unit, including a Ground Based Air Defence Command and Control (GBAD C2) solution. The combination of our Giraffe 1X radar and the RBS 70 NG Mobile Firing Unit is the perfect match for a solution with first-class range, altitude coverage and detection», says Stefan Öberg, head of Saab’s business unit Missile Systems.

MSHORAD is Saab’s response to the new battlefield era, with evolved airborne threats such as the advent of drones, unmanned aerial vehicles and other advanced airborne weapons. MSHORAD is a vehicle-integrated solution that can identify, counter and neutralise air threats quickly, effectively and decisively. The system consists of the Mobile Radar Unit, based on the Giraffe 1X radar, the Mobile Firing Unit, based on the RBS 70 NG, all connected with Saab’s GBAD C2.

New capability

Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Air Force are continuing enhancements to the B-2 Spirit Stealth bomber fleet providing new capability, including its first long-range stealth missile.

B-2 Spirit
Northrop Grumman aircrew inspect the B-2 Spirit of Arizona before take-off in Palmdale, California

The B-2 Spirit successfully released a Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER) during a flight test in December. The JASSM-ER further enhances the B-2’s ability to hit any target, anywhere. The integration of JASSM-ER enables the delivery of a low observable asset capable of traveling greater distances than its predecessor.

JASSM-ER is one of three new advanced capabilities being introduced to the B-2 Spirit to further modernize the platform. The B-2 Spirit fleet, capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear ordnance, is also integrating crypto modernization and a Radar Aided Targeting System (RATS). The latest system advancements are part of Integrated Functional Capability (IFC) P6.4, which was certified last year by the Air Force. RATS will complete the latest phase of nuclear modernization of the B-2 Spirit.

«The unrivaled capabilities of the B-2 Spirit make it the only long range, penetrating stealth bomber currently in the U.S. arsenal», said Shaugnessy Reynolds, vice president and B-2 Spirit program manager, Northrop Grumman. «Committed to continued modernization of the B-2 Spirit, we’re leveraging our company’s innovation in digital engineering and its decades of leadership in designing and maintaining low observable platforms to keep the B-2 Spirit mission ready».

The integration of RATS allows the B-2 Spirit to fully employ the B-61 mod 12 nuclear bomb. RATS is the key element of the nuclear modernization, as GPS may not be available during a bomber task force mission.

Crypto modernization further improves the communications security of various high frequency transmissions. The B-2 Spirit may now securely utilize advanced communication devices in the future threat environment. Earlier this year, Northrop Grumman conducted a successful communications flight test with modern cryptology at its Oklahoma City Weapons System Support Center site.

The capabilities of this IFC continue to position the B-2 Spirit fleet as a key component of the Department of Defense’s nuclear triad. It is also part of Northrop Grumman’s ongoing modernization efforts leveraging 21st century technology incorporating digital engineering.

Next Generation Interceptor

Lockheed Martin recently validated prototype communications radio technology for the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) during a recent test milestone. The NGI’s mission is to protect the U.S. homeland from increasing and evolving intercontinental ballistic missile threats. Critically, the interceptor and its components must be able to receive and share data from the ground and throughout the mission across vast distances, at tremendous speed through harsh environments.

Next Generation Interceptor (NGI)
This image is an artist rendering of the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) in flight (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

Through early prototype testing at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Sunnyvale, California, the company demonstrated that the interceptor’s communications system can operate through harsh and adversarial environments it may encounter during flight. This communication technology is important because it provides in-flight situational awareness enabling elements of the interceptor to effectively respond to complex threats.

«Early demonstrations like this allow us to learn as we go and manage risk», said Sarah Reeves, vice president and program manager of the Next Generation Interceptor program at Lockheed Martin. «This milestone continues the NGI team’s successful early and often testing cadence of critical technologies within our digital system design as it matures in alignment with our Developmental Evaluation Framework».

Lockheed Martin’s NGI program was born digital, using all-digital tools prior to contract award through the design and development phase. Through Agile development, the NGI team was able to rapidly create and prototype the communications capability through a focused approach on development, security, and operations (DevSecOps), reducing risk early.

The NGI team incorporated rapid prototyping, in connection with Austin, Texas, small business X-Microwave, a Quantic Company, delivering hardware platforms for software-defined radio development in weeks, rather than months, allowing for faster design evolution.

Lockheed Martin is moving with a sense of urgency, focused on continually maturing, testing and demonstrating the NGI system’s components to validate system performance. The first Lockheed Martin NGI is forecast for delivery in FY2027.

First live-fire test

The U.S. Air Force and Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, successfully conducted the first Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) F3R, an AIM-120D3 missile, live-fire test against a target. The test used production missile hardware developed under the AMRAAM Form, Fit, Function Refresh program, which updates both the missile’s hardware and software.

AMRAAM F3R
An F-15E Strike Eagle equipped with an AIM-120 D3 taxies at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida for the first live-fire test of an AMRAAM F3R missile against a target (Photo: First Lieutenant Lindsey Heflin, U.S. Air Force)

The AIM-120D3 combines System Improvement Program 3F software updates with F3R hardware, putting tremendous capability against advanced threats into the warfighter’s arsenal.

During the June 30, 2022 test, the missile was fired from an F-15E Strike Eagle and guided toward an aerial target at long range. The primary objective was to prove out sub-system integration to support all phases of guided flight. The test also demonstrated full system integration and performance.

«Our warfighters deserve to have the most advanced technology in the air when they need it», said Paul Ferraro, president of Air Power at Raytheon Missiles & Defense. «F3R upgrades multiple circuit cards to address obsolescence, enhances the weapon’s capabilities, and extends the production line for the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, and our Allied partners».

The live fire was the first of five planned missile shots in an integrated test series for the AIM-120D3 to qualify the new configuration for production and fielding. These tests incorporate various scenarios and targets to prove out the weapon’s advanced functionality and capabilities. An additional live fire for the Foreign Military Sales AIM-120C8 variant will occur in the near future. These live-fire tests are the culmination of captive flight tests, workup flights, and simulations.

Under the F3R program, engineers used model-based systems engineering initiatives and other digital technologies to upgrade multiple circuit cards and hardware into the guidance section of the missile and to re-host legacy software in the AIM-120D3 and AIM-120C8 AMRAAMs. Over the past year, F3R software was merged with SIP 3F advanced software capabilities to accelerate the fielding of this combined upgrade to the warfighter.

Operational Fires Program

DARPA’s Operational Fires (OpFires) program has successfully executed its first flight test at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The OpFires system achieved all test objectives, including first ever use of a U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) logistics truck as a medium-range missile launcher, missile canister egress, stable flight capture, and use of U.S. Army inventory artillery fire control systems to initiate the test mission. Lockheed Martin built the system, which includes a Northrop Grumman rocket motor, and conducted the test.

Operational Fires (OpFires)
Successful launch of OpFires missile from a USMC Logistic Vehicle System Replacement

The test demonstrated integrated technology maturation of key enabling components including the first stage rocket motor, missile canister, and Missile Round Pallet (MRP). The MRP is designed for use with the load handling system available on USMC and Army logistics vehicles, eliminating the need for a bespoke OpFires Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL).

«This is a promising step toward a TEL on-demand capability for accurately firing medium-range missiles from highly agile, readily available logistics trucks that are already in both the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps inventory», said Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Stults, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program manager for OpFires. «Our successful agile hardware development approach prioritizes full-scale flight testing that will inform further design maturation this year».

The primary goal of OpFires is the development and demonstration of a ground-launched two-stage propulsive system capable of employing hypersonic (greater than five times the speed of sound) payloads from ubiquitous U.S. military trucks (the Palletized Load System family of vehicles) that can penetrate modern air defenses and precisely strike time-critical targets. Compatibility with existing command and control, vehicles, logistics infrastructure, and operating environments ensures that OpFires is highly mobile and rapidly deployable.

«The OpFires program is a great example of how DARPA, in partnership with industry, is helping the Department of Defense facilitate rapid development and testing of advanced hypersonic technologies to accelerate the delivery of transformational warfighting capabilities», said Michael White, principal director for hypersonics in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.

The OpFires program will complete an integrated system critical design review in 2022.

DARPA Operational Fires (OpFires) Successful First Flight Test